Thanksgiving is hands down, my absolute favorite holiday. The food aromas alone make me absolutely giddy. Spending time with loved ones, without the expectation or pressure of any gifts being exchanged – it is pure and sweet. The love of Thanksgiving began long before I knew about giving thanks, due to fond memories of huge holiday dinners at my paternal grandmother’s house. As I grew in age, and wisdom, Thanksgiving become more precious, because of the meaning associated with the date.
For many, Thanksgiving, and the holiday season is not a happy time. The memories of yesteryear are painful for many, because of the loss of precious loved ones. Many people suffer debilitating physical pain, and are unable to enjoy the holiday season. Many people are homeless, in financial crisis, in pain due to broken relationships, and lonely. Thanksgiving time or not, a great number of people are struggling.
Telling someone to “be thankful no matter what”, can seem snug, insensitive, even arrogant. I never what to be, or even appear to be any of those things. Few of us eagerly anticipate tough times. Most people don’t usually seek painful circumstances. Still, all of us experience grief, pain, disappointment, calamity, and struggle. Even at Thanksgiving, and for many, especially at Thanksgiving, it is difficult for many to find a reason to give thanks. Gratitude is clouded and masked by pain.
This Thanksgiving and holiday season, no matter what your situation, please be encouraged to give thanks. Not necessarily for every situation and circumstance, but despite them. I really believe that gratitude invites hope, and hope invites peace, and before long, joy has found its way in as well. Let us, as much as possible, carry the ideals of Thanksgiving, and the practice of giving thanks, inside of us during every day of every season.